April 26, 2014

Perdue touts business background in Senate race

Charles Oliver

— The country may be officially four years into a recovery, but Georgians are still concerned about the economy and worried about their jobs, says businessman David Perdue.

Perdue, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the May 20 primary, stopped in Dalton Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot of friends up here, and we thought we’d come up here and spend some time with them and talk about the campaign,” he said.

Perdue has been traveling the state, and he says the economy is the main topic voters ask him about.

“I knew there was a problem. If you look at the United States, the number of people who are out of work or underemployed, it’s one in five persons,” he said. “But I have been overwhelmed by what I have been hearing. When I talk to people and ask if they know anybody who is out of work, I see all these hands go up.”

Perdue, who has served as CEO of Reebok and Dollar General and currently is active with Perdue Partners, says his business experience would help him find ways to get the United States out of its economic malaise.

“We’ve got four perfectly good political people in this race. They are good people, and I like them all. But they don’t have the business experience that I do,” he said. “I decided to get into the race to give the voters an alternative, someone with a business background, someone who has experience trying to deal with all these taxes and regulations coming out of Washington.”

Perdue is one of seven candidates seeking the GOP nod for Senate in Georgia this year. The others are U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston; former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel; Eugene Yu of Augusta, Marietta attorney Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson of Stone Mountain.

Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, Atlanta physician Branko Radulovacki, Oglethorpe Mayor Gerald Beckum, former state Sen. Steen Miles and ex-U.S. Army Ranger Todd Robinson of Columbus are seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate.

Perdue said the top priority for the next Congress should be to help business grow jobs.

“Last year, 80 percent of the new jobs that were created were part time. We have the smallest percentage of people working since 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president,” he said. “The second thing is that we need to look at term limits. We have 36 senators who have been in Washington in one elected office or another for over 30 years. Most people don’t know that. I certainly plan to press this issue. We need citizen legislators who do what I am trying to do and that is to go up there and make a difference and at the end of the day go home.”

Perdue said he opposes “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

“We tried that in the 1980s and it didn’t work. This is a complicated issue. But the first thing that we need to do is to secure the borders. That is vital to national security,” he said. “Only after we have secured the borders do we need to take that second step and talk about both legal immigration and illegal immigration.”